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Fired Federal OSHA/Investigator Darrell Whitman Challenges Congress To Investigate Corrupt
by Darrell Whitman
Monday Jun 26th, 2017 6:08 PM
Fired Federal OSHA Whitleblower Protection Program investigator Darrell Whitman called on Congress to investigate widespread corruption in the Federal government and OSC.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2017

Fired Federal OSHA WPP Investigator Darrell Whitman Challenges Congress To Investigate Wide-Spread Government Corruption
Former Federal Investigator Challenges Congress to Investigate Wide-Spread Government Corruption



DARRELL WHITMAN, Ph.D.

Oakland, CA 94611
Email: publicsafety4america(at)gmail.com

June 26, 2017

Senator Diane Feinstein One Post Street
Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104

Re: Collapse of Federal Accountability Dear Senator Feinstein,

I am authoring this open letter to you in anticipation of celebrating the anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. As you might recall, the grievances cited as justifying the creation of our nation as a sovereign state involved abuses of power, and in particular the abuse of legal processes, by the then British government. The signers of the Declaration also noted that it was their duty to oppose these forms of tyranny to secure the right of the people to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I have sadly concluded that 241 years after the issuing of this Declaration our own government is involved in systematic violations of law and obstructions of the legal process. The compelling evidence I offer in support of this conclusion is as follows:




On May 18, 2014, I sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez outlining a “culture of corruption” in OSHA Region IX, where I worked as a Regional Investigator for the Whistleblower Protection Program. I copied the letter to President Obama, you, Senator Barbara Boxer, Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Darrell Issa, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, my Congresswoman, Barbara Lee, and Elliot Lewis, Assistant Inspector General for Audit for the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Labor. The letter identified eight specific areas where Regional Administration was engaged in the systematic violation of law. None of those receiving the letter acknowledged it. But, shortly after the letter was sent, the national OSHA Directorate conducted a retaliatory investigation of me and four other attorney-investigators serving in Region IX who supported my allegations, leading to a “purge” that forced out all five of us within little more than a year.

I sent two follow-up letters to Secretary Perez during and after the conduct of this retaliatory investigation, reporting it for what it was and for serious incidents of retaliation that followed in its wake. Like my first letter, these letters were copied to the same group of political representatives and administrators. Except for your office, none of the other recipients acknowledged them.

In a letter sent by your office on September 12, 2014, acknowledging my earlier letters, you asked that I sign and return a Privacy Release Form to your aide





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Carson Niello to enable you to conduct an investigation, which I did on September 15, 2014, adding a summary of events and offering to provide supporting documentation. After exchanging information with Mr. Niello, including a detailed examination of six investigation that evidenced multiple violations of law, and a copy of the disclosures I made to the Office of Special Counsel, Mr. Niello advised me that your office could not complete an investigation.

On August 11, 2014, I sent a letter to Senator Charles Grassley, who had offered himself as a champion for federal whistleblowers. I included copies of two of the letters I had sent to Secretary Perez and other federal officials during the summer of 2014, and noted: 1) after I began to report violations of law to local Region IX administrators and the national OSHA office in 2012, I was subjected to increasingly hostile disciplinary hearings and had been put under surveillance; 2) complaints from a large number of qualified whistleblower complainants about program mismanagement and abuse by OSHA administrator; 3) that after noticing Secretary Perez about my concerns, OSHA conducted a retaliatory investigation that produced retaliation by Region IX managers against investigators supporting my allegations; and, 4) the serious threats to public health and safety these violations posed. I added at the end of the letter:

This lack of competence allows cronyism and corruption to dominate management of the program, which if anyone takes a close look has already contributed to preventable deaths, injuries and property damage. To allow OSHA and it management to continue to supervise whistleblower protection is to put the nation at risk in unacceptable ways. At some point, there will be a catastrophic event that will bring all of this to light, but too late for those who become its victims. We can’t afford to put the public at risk because of soulless bureaucrats.

I never received any acknowledgement from Senator Grassley’s office of this

letter.

On September 29, 2014, I requested a copy of the report produced by OSHA’s

retaliatory investigation from Sabina Khadka, the OSHA investigators who appeared to be administratively responsible for managing the investigation. Ms. Khadka responded that the report was not yet complete. But then on December 19, 2014, I received a letter from Department of Labor Assistant Secretary and OSHA Directorate member Dorothy Dougherty, acknowledging that she had authorized a “management review” that didn’t substantiate any of my allegations. After making a FOIA request for a copy of the investigative report/management review, I was advised on January 28, 2015, by Kimberley Lacy of the OSHA Directorate my request was denied because the whole document was a protected personnel matter.

On November 3, 2014, I sent a letter to Elliot Lewis, Assistant Inspector General for Audit in the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Labor, who had been copied on my three earlier letters to Secretary Perez. In this letter, I noted there was substantial evidence,

. . . persons within the Office of the Secretary, OSHA and the national Office of Whistleblower Protection are acting to protect managers and promote practices that compromise the mission of the Whistleblower Protection Program. . . by systematically refusing to issue merit findings, falsifying documents, and failing to notice relevant regulatory agencies about serious health and safety violations. . . that persons within OSHA and managers within the Whistleblower Protection program are hostile to complainant whistleblowers and whistleblowers within the Agency. . . [and] local Region IX management illegally has placed employees under surveillance in an attempt to discourage reports of management wrongdoing.

I included a copy of my analysis of six cases, specifically identifying how they represented violations of law, and then requested that the OIG conduct a “credible and independent audit of these issues.” When I received no acknowledgement of my disclosure and request, I sent a follow- letter to Mr. Lewis on December 29, 2014, advising that I had been contacted my media and intended to make the issues part of a public discussion. Shortly thereafter, on January 7, 2015, I received a letter from Howard Shapiro, Counsel to the IG, saying the OIG would not conduct an investigation, based on its review of the OSHA Report concerning its 2014 “management review.”

In early January 2015, I sent copies of my analysis of six cases previously sent to the OIG, together with a summary of my efforts to obtain a credible investigation of the culture of corruption I reported to Secretary Perez, to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. I received no acknowledgement of these letters.

On January 16, 2015, I filed disclosures with the Office of Special Counsel, which included documentation of “violations of law, rules, regulations, and policy, wide- spread abuse of authority and mismanagement, and the gross waste of government funds by management in OSHA Region IX.” I also noted, “One of the core elements of my numerous complaints against OSHA management has been the falsification of Reports of Investigation that resulted in the dismissal of otherwise merit complaints. . . [and] Tragically, this increases rather than decreases, the likelihood of loss of property, health and life from knowable and preventable risks.” On January 20, 2015, I followed these disclosures with a binder containing relevant documents, noting that I had received a Notice of Proposed Removal from OSHA in February 2014 after making a series of disclosures to OSHA management about the same violations. After initially acknowledging my disclosures, the OSC suspended further contacts with me after I was fired in May 2015.

On May 5, 2015, I was terminated and removed from my position as a Regional Investigator. Later in 2015, a second attorney-investigator was also removed and a third quit after being placed on involuntary leave for more than 10 months. Two more attorney-investigators subsequently resigned in disgust. That left the OSHA Region IX Whistleblower Protection Program with no attorney-investigators, and only half its allocated staff of investigators.

On April 6. 2016, I filed a Prohibited Personnel Practices complaint with the OSC, supported by a 215-page sworn affidavit and 340 exhibits detailing more than 50 specific incidents of retaliation. At the same time, I asked for internever negotiated an extension of time to complete its investigation after the 240- day deadline for issuing a report had expired in early December 2016, and continues to be opaque about its process and intentions.

The history of my experience with federal management as a federal employee offers compelling evidence there is wide-spread disregard for law and the public interest. The violations of law are not trivial, but central to the relationship between the government and the people. The felonies of obstructing federal investigations into government corruption in my case have been compounded by felonies of obstructing and corrupting federal investigations into serious violations of federal safety, health, and financial security laws. As I pointed out in a sworn affidavit provided in January 2017 to a federal Grand Jury in San Francisco, which is investigating wide-spread and continuing consumer fraud by Wells Fargo Bank, “It might be argued that the mismanagement of these three SOX cases reflected a poorly trained and poorly supervised Program manager in Region IX. However, evidence suggests that this mismanagement was not only endorsed, but encouraged by senior OSHA and Program managers.”

Disregard for the law by federal officials is unacceptable, particularly where it creates substantial threats to the public’s safety, health, and financial security. Over the last six years, I’ve found that the culture of corruption I initially found in OSHA Region IX is wide-spread, and that senior federal administrators in OSHA, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Special Counsel believe they are immune from accountability. Sadly, I suspect that it doesn’t stop there but extends to many, if not most, federal agencies.

Faith in government among the public is near or at an all-time low. I would ask that you

return to the promise you made to me in September 2014 and ensure that complete a thorough, independent, and credible investigation of my allegations of corruption occurs.

Sincerely,
Dr. Darrell Whitman

(former) Regional Investigator, OSHA Region IX 4

CC:

Honorable Donald Trump, President of the United States

Hon. Ron Johnson, Chair
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Claire McCaskill, Ranking Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Thomas Carper, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Steve Daines, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Michael Enzi, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Kamala Harris, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Margaret Hassan, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Heidi, Heitkamp, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. John Hoeven, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. James Lankford, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. John McCain, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Rand Paul, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Gary Peters, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Rob Portman, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Jon Tester, Member
Senate Homeland Security and Government Accountability Committee

Hon. Charles Grassley, Chair Senate Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Tammy Baldwin, Member Senate Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. John Boozman, Member Senate Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Joni Ernst, Member Senate Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Ed Markey, Member Senate Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Gary Peters, Member Senate Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Thom Tillis, Member Senate Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Ron Wyden, Member Senate Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Trey Gowdy, Chair
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Mark Meadows, Chair
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Rod Blum, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. William L. Clay, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Bonnie W. Coleman, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Gerald E. Connolly, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Ron Desantis, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Jody Hice, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Jim Jordan, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Brenda Lawrence, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Carolyn Maloney, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Thomas Massie, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Dennis Ross, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Mark Sanford, Member
Subcommittee on Government Operations
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Hon. Mike Coffman, Member House Whistleblower Caucus

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Hon. Sean Duffy, Member House Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Steven Lynch, Member House Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Kathleen Rice, Member House Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Steve Russell, Member House Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Jackie Speier, Member House Whistleblower Caucus

Hon. Barbara Lee
United States House of Representative

Contact Darrell Whitman
Email: publicsafety4america [at] gmail.com